HC Deb 20 October 1932 vol 269 cc319-20
52. Mr. DREWE

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that, while farmers are receiving 6½d. to 7d. per 1b. for heifer and steer beef, 4d. to 5d. per 1b. for cow beef, 2½d. to 3d. per 1b. for ewe mutton, and 7d. per 1b. for lamb, the butcher has been selling beef, sirloin, undercut and wing cut, for to 1s. 4d. per 1b., ribs 10d. to 1s. per 1b., rump steak (boneless) 1s. 4d. to 1s. 6d. per 1b., silverside 1s. to 1s. 2d. per 1b., mutton, legs 10d. to 1s. per lb., loin 10d. to 1s. per 1b., and shoulder 8d. to 10d. per 1b.; and whether he will instruct the Food Council to investigate these prices with a view to reducing the gap between wholesale and retail prices?


I am aware that retail meat prices have not fallen in proportion to the prices received by the farmer for his stock. Retail prices of meat do not as a rule follow closely the fluctuations of wholesale prices, and as my hon. Friend will be aware the Ottawa Agreements contain provisions designed to restore wholesale prices to a more remunerative level. At present wholesale prices are subject to considerable fluctuations and I am reluctant to ask the Food Council to embark now on a fresh investigation, the results of which might afford little guidance under future conditions. The course of prices will, however, continue to be carefully watched.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether his reply does not indicate the urgency and necessity for a Consumers' Council Bill?


Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to the fact that farmers in the north are killing their cattle and selling their own meat because of the exploitation of the butchers?


Is there anything in the Ottawa Agreements to guarantee future retail prices?